Reports of Injuries from Laser Procedures Raise Concerns

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Expert dermatologist Mitchel P. Goldman, MD comments on the potential danger of laser treatments being done by inexperienced staff

Dr. Mitchel P. Goldman

While laser and energy based treatments for the skin are perfectly safe in the hands of a skilled professional, they can be dangerous when operated by someone not intimately familiar with how a certain machine works.

A recent article in USA Today explores the risks of having laser treatments done by someone who is not a certified professional. According to the article, people across the country have reported injuries resulting from improperly performed laser treatments. Top board-certified dermatologist Dr. Mitchel Goldman, director of Cosmetic Laser Dermatology in San Diego, discusses why it is always in a patient’s best interest to choose where they have a laser procedure done wisely. Lasers and energy based devices that utilize intense pulsed light, ultrasound and/or radio frequency have become common and popular treatments for skin issues such as age spots, wrinkles, blood vessels, wrinkles, lax skin, and acne scarring, but this rise in popularity has also meant a rise in unlicensed or inexperienced operators of laser technology.

“While laser and energy based treatments for the skin are perfectly safe in the hands of a skilled professional, they can be dangerous when operated by someone not intimately familiar with how a certain machine works,” explained Dr. Goldman. “Lasers and energy based treatments can have amazing benefits, but they can also be ineffective and, even more concerning, cause burning or scarring if operated improperly. This is why it is so important to do research and choose a board-certified, experienced dermatologist for any laser or energy based treatment.”

Hair removal, skin resurfacing, blood vessel and leg vein removal are just a few of the popular uses for laser treatments. Each of these treatments can be extremely effective with noticeable results but has the potential for disaster if the person operating it doesn't have a thorough knowledge of how the device operates and what laser is best for an individual’s skin type. There have been many stories about men and women being burned from improperly conducted laser treatments, although this can easily be avoided by making sure to visit an experienced board-certified dermatologic surgeon.

“Unfortunately, many places that offer laser and energy based treatments do not have the proper qualifications,” said Dr. Goldman. “Medical spas have proliferated over the years, but the best course of action is still to visit a board certified dermatologist. Medical spas are not the same as a dermatologic clinic where dermatologists know how to assess all types of skin concerns and can provide patients with individualized treatment plans.”

As technology advances and anti-aging procedures become even more popular, it becomes more important than ever to be discerning about what type of place to visit to have a procedure done. Even injectable treatments such as Botox or dermal fillers, which seem to be simple procedures, can lead to less than desirable results if performed improperly. If a person is thinking about having any kind of procedure done on their skin, quality is more important than price.

“Many places try to compete with doctors by offering low prices or sales,” said Dr. Goldman. “However, the most important aspect to look at when choosing where to have a laser treatment done is not how much the procedure will cost. If an individual is burned or otherwise disfigured from an improperly performed procedure, getting it fixed will end up costing more than was saved in the first place.”

Mitchel P. Goldman, MD, is a board certified dermatologist and Diplomate of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery with a distinctive insight into the performance of both aesthetic and medically necessary dermatologic treatments. As director of the landmark Cosmetic Laser Dermatology center in San Diego, Dr. Goldman strives to produce excellent patient care while utilizing the most advanced non-surgical and minimally invasive treatments available.

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